First colour ebook reader goes on sale

Fujitsu has beaten the pack to announce the first commercially available colour ebook reader, the oddly-named FLEPia.

The 8″ / 20cm device sports a 260,000 colour e-paper display built using Fujitsu’s own patented FLEPia screen technology and has an impressive 40 hour battery life with continuous use or 2400 page turns. It’s well-featured, coming with WiFi wireless, Bluetooth, a mini USB port, and a touch screen. This enables the use of a soft on-screen keyboard and, combined with the Windows CE5 operating system, provides much of the capability of a computer including email, word processing and spreadsheets. Books are stored on a removable 4GB SD card.

Fujitsu itself doesn’t refer to the FLEPia as an ebook reader. The term it uses is “e-paper mobile terminal” pointing again to a wider view of its likely uses.

It was only a few weeks ago that the FLEPia was being field-trialled in a Tokyo restaurant so its commercial release has come pretty quickly. Fujitsu says that improvements have been made as a result of the trial, including better colour saturation and speed of page refresh, still not quick at about two seconds but almost twice as quick as the trialled unit.

The Flepia at this stage is only available in Japan where it will retail for about US$1000. It goes on sale immediately via Fujitsu’s online store.

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